My 23 Favourite Books in 2018

Neil Gaiman says, “Picking five favorite books is like picking the five body parts you’d most like not to lose.” I agree. I can’t even decide on my favourite five from the books I’ve read just this year.

I can pick one favourite non-fiction book, in part because I read less non-fiction than fiction, and because Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari was so illuminating and thought-provoking, and way more accessible than I expected a book on a topic of such scope to be.

I can also pick two favourite books that I read for CNIB this year: The Word Collector, a picture book by Peter. H. Reynolds, and Fire Song, a young adult novel by Adam Garnet Jones. (Both happen to be Starred selections in “Best Books for Kids & Teens, a guide for teachers, parents, and librarians published by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre each year.)

I probably wouldn’t be able to name favourite books at all if I didn’t keep track of my reading at because I also agree with Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”

According to my “Books Read” shelf on Goodreads, here is a selection of my “read (so far) in 2018” favourites.

For Kids and Young Adults

Trampoline Boy — Nan Forler
Wicked Nix — Lena Coakley
Yellow Dog — Miriam Körner
Ebb and Flow — Heather Smith
Kate’s Ring — Donna Grassby
(The one pictured with this post, I read in 2017.)

For Adults

The Dutch Wife — Ellen Keith
The Shadows in the Street — Susan Hill
Trust Your Eyes — Linwood Barclay
Dancer — Colum McCann
Brother — David Chariandy
The Boat People — Sharon Bala
The Boy on the Beach — Timi Kurdi
The Unlikely Redemption of John Alexander MacNeil — Lesley Choyce
The Good Doctor — Damon Galgut
Tarry This Night — Kristyn Dunnion
The Piano Maker — Kurt Palka
A Piece of the World — Cristina Baker Kline
The Dinner — Herman Koch
The Evening Chorus — Helen Humphreys
Starlight — Richard Wagamese (in preparation for reading for CNIB in 2019)

What were your favourite reads of 2018? Can you name just five? Or one!?

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Kathy Stinson is the author of the classic Red Is Best and the award-winning The Man with the Violin. Her wide range of titles includes picture books, non-fiction, young adult fiction, historical fiction, horror, biography, series books, and short stories. She has met with her readers in every province and territory of Canada, in the United States, Britain, Liberia, and Korea. She lives in a small town in Ontario.

Kathy Stinson


  1. Miriam on December 12, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Well, am I ever happy to have made your list! I hope you’ll have a chance to read the next one as well. Miriam Miriam Körner

    Writer | Photographer | Visual Artist | Wilderness Guide

    • Kathy on December 12, 2018 at 3:16 pm

      I do too, Miriam. I’m sure I will!

  2. wendy mason on December 14, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Aristotle and Dante Discover the  Secrets of the Universe. No Fixed Address. Sweep. Louisana’s Way Home. Kate’s Ring. A World of Kindness. Just a few that came to mind but there are so many others!

    • Kathy on December 14, 2018 at 7:28 pm

      What a great list, Wendy. I’ve only read one of them and am pleased to get your recommendations. I see, like me, you have a hard time choosing one favourite. 🙂 Happy reading in the new year!

  3. Donna Grassby on December 15, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Kathy and Wendy, I’m honoured to be included on your favourite book reads lists for 2018. Thank you:)
    Donna Grassby

    • Kathy on December 26, 2018 at 11:29 am

      Happy to help spread the word about a wonderful book and I know Wendy is too!

  4. Janet Barclay on December 30, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    I gave the following books 5 stars on Goodreads:

    Kate’s Ring
    The Home for Unwanted Girls
    The Unlikely Redemption of John Alexander MacNeil
    After Swissair
    The Japanese Lover
    The Museum of Extraordinary Things
    Molly’s Game
    Ragged Company
    Trust Your Eyes
    Burden of Desire
    Clara Callan

    It’s such a long list, I’m wondering if I need to be stingier with my ratings.

    • Kathy on December 30, 2018 at 6:01 pm

      I don’t think so. Those look like great books, the ones I’m familiar with.
      I think you just had a great year of reading! Hope 2019 is a good one for you too!

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